Leaping Faith… A New Journey Begins.

Have you ever found yourself in a place wondering: “what am I doing here?”

Well, that was me, this past week… I was going through a mini existential crisis, wondering why certain desired things had not yet entered my life. It took everything in me just to be able to go to and from work. I was out of energy, as a car whose fuel tank was on empty. It wasn’t that anything new had occurred; yet somehow the dark cloud of depression had found a way to blot out my sunshine. I guess I was experiencing scripture firsthand because Proverbs 13:12 says that a deferred dream will make one sick… and sick I was feeling indeed.

From this place of feeling like an emotional train wreck, I showed up to volunteer for the Catalyst Conference. For those of you not familiar with the Catalyst Conference, it is a national conference intended to provide education, resources, and tools to leaders who love the Church. From this place of emotional brokenness I had to dig from within to keep a smile on my face as I greeted the arriving guests.

After the second day, all of that smiling on the outside (but not the inside) depleted me. When my duties were done, I fled the conference to sequester myself in my bedroom. But something miraculous happened on the third day of the conference. My duties were done strangely early that morning and I was free to sit in on the conference activities. As I sat there in an arena filled with 8,000+ Christians, I initially watched but then joined in as we sang about the awesome power of God to free us from past hurts, from disappointments, from broken hearts. I realized that I had found the answer to my initial question of “what I was doing there”. It struck me that I was in the right place, at the right time. And it felt good, awesome in fact!

So much so that I see it as a pivotal point in my faith walk with God because two days after the conference ended I decided to give my body back to God. I am now choosing to abstain from sex until marriage. Go figure, me? Seems ludicrous yet as I was reminded, during the conference, we serve a God of the IMPOSSIBLE… not the difficult… the Impossible!

And it is in that God I place my faith, all of my future hopes and dreams.

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I am in a new season and it is one that is hope filled. May my story of courage and bravery, in the face of doubt, fear, and tears give you the strength to take your own leap of faith!

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Jealous Paparazzi

What a season this has been!

In the midst of my own struggles, several family members have attempted to slander my name… I didn’t think it could happen in my family, thought we would be immune to the human condition of jealousy and envy. But alas, we are not.

For a few days it left me confused, hurt, and distraught – as my mind attempted to rationalize why would someone related to me desire to hurt me? What could they gain from my demise?

And then I ran across this quote from German composer Johannes Brahms:

“Those who enjoy their own emotionally bad health and who habitually fill their own minds with the rank poisons of suspicion, jealousy and hatred, as a rule take umbrage at those who refuse to do likewise, and they find a perverted relief in trying to denigrate them.”

It made perfect sense… because I always strive to seek the positive, surround myself with positive, and exude positivity – so those who have not found that balance within themselves will attempt to degrade and malign me, in hopes that I would lose my focus on what is right, and good, and beautiful about life.

I am happy to report – that plan was foiled! I will admit that I shed a tear. I cried for the pain and malice that was inflicted. But then I dried my eyes I reminded myself that the only one who gets to decide how I feel – IS ME! images


I choose to surround myself with positive people

I choose to pursue the things that make my heart sing

I choose to have family and friends that support and encourage me.


Everyone and everything else [that is negative] can “kick rocks!”


In your life, if you ever run into jealousy – here are a few quotes to encourage you:

Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius”. Fulton Sheen, Catholic Bishop

Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.” Mary Schmich, American journalist

As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.” Antisthenes, Greek philosopher

People are taken aback by a confident, pretty girl who knows what she wants in life and isn’t going to let anyone get in her way. And you know what it’s all about? Jealousy.” Summer Altice, Actress aba6f2f6b994e084c6752fddeeb38b3f

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

4th of JULY reflections – More than hamburgers, hotdogs, & fireworks!

It’s another 4th of July…

As I reflect on this day known for barbecues, time with the family, and being poolside, my mind wanders. Independence – freedom – the pursuit of happiness. It’s quite ironic that a few days ago I was reflecting on the season of life that I am in. It is a period where I am finally and truly open to change, growth, and releasing the past! So this year is a bit special. July 4th will not only be a time for remembering the freedoms fought for and that we’re still striving for, but it will also signify a turning point my life.

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Moving on to the new can be a very daunting and overwhelming task! Most may opt to remain with the familiar. However happiness, true happiness can only be obtained when we are free – when we allow ourselves the chance to seek the things that encourage our inner passions, creativity, and spirit.

This Independence Day I am channeling the sage wisdom and bravery of my ancestors to walk courageously into happiness!

So what is the first step on the path to happiness?

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It is letting go of the past hurts, pains, and even regrets… this first step is often the HARDEST but it is necessary!

I give myself permission to be happy

I give myself permission to be free

I give myself permission to be whole

I forgive those who have hurt me and …

I liberate myself from feeling any further self-blame that I allowed them to hurt me

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I am eager to see the amazing new things that will walk into my life because I am a new me. Marriage, babies, publishing books, and amassing wealth… an exciting time is on the horizon, indeed!

Well that’s my Independence story, what’s yours? What are you focused on this Fourth of July? Will you take a moment to reflect on what new pursuits will add flavor to your own life?

I hope you do!

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Amen”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How deep are your roots? Will you quit or will you persevere?

Have you ever stopped to reflect back on your life?

April and May of 2015 were really tough months for me. There were many moments of doubts and questions about the path of life I had chosen. Some of the questions arose because this year marked 10 years gone by since the Commencement ceremonies for my doctoral degree. I silently wondered why life seemed so vastly different from how I imagined it would be. The things I pined for in 2005 were in such stark contrast to the wishes of 2015…

I questioned: How did life evolve in the way that it had? And as I glanced around at my struggles of present day I wondered why was my health failing, debt accumulating, and life seeming to move on forward without me?

This can’t be the life of a child of God! Wasn’t I promised abundance, dominion, and lands of milk and honey? If I am blessed, shouldn’t my life reflect that? I started to become so disheartened at the efforts I’ve made to create the life I wanted. The seeds I had planted appeared to be in vain, so shouldn’t I JUST QUIT?

And then I came across a quote by Evangelist Billy Graham:

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”

That quote was a necessary reminder to me that being a Christian does not mean I won’t have struggles. In fact, it appears the closer I strive to follow God’s word the more obstacles that seem to cross my path. However, I am encouraged by the knowledge that I am not on this journey alone. God promised to never leave, nor forsake me!

It was from this place of feeling encouraged that I decided to research the idea of bearing fruit.

I found an image that mentioned the importance of planting roots. take-root-bear-fruit-11-638

After seeing that picture, it was as if a light bulb turned on. Of course! It makes sense that the deeper the roots – the greater, the stronger, the more lush the fruit. I realized that this same idea could be applied to my life… I was dreaming BIG, shooting for the stars – which meant it would take time, energy, and effort to plant sturdy roots.

Although we live in a world of instant gratification… I remind myself that the works of God are often not instantaneous and as Christians we must toil, work, endure, and persevere despite what is momentarily seen.

So although my dreams have not yet happened, I trust that if I don’t quit – I shall one day bear fruit and reap the benefits of my labor!

Will you have the courage to plant deep roots within your own life?

Which dream will you pursue without quitting?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Time to Move On… Say good-bye to Regrets!

In life we are accountable for making millions of decisions. That’s a huge responsibility, and sometimes we may not make the best choice. However, the mistake is often not realized until later, for as they say “hindsight is 20/20.” When you look back you typically have more information than you previously did, and that’s why you can say: “I wished I had handled that situation differently” or “I wish I could change that decision.”

But guess what? It’s done… you can’t get it back, so why mull over it, why beat yourself up, and live your life focused on regretting decisions of old. Isn’t this the type of advice often given? However, it’s often hard to forget the poor choices of your past because they can have real consequences in your present and future!

So how do you move beyond the past, even when the past is having an effect on your right now? That was a question I asked myself and that question remained unanswered for a few days until I this morning while I was listening to the song Different by Tasha Page-Lockhart.

At first I was focused solely on the tune and the catchy beat, but then I honed in on the lyrics. She sang about making unwise decisions. Allowing temptation, distractors, and negativity to cloud her good judgment. However, she really caught my attention when she sang:

But there’s not a hole too deep

That God won’t reach down and save me

See he cleaned me up and made me new

Said welcome back and now I’m standing here in front of you

That part of the song really got me to dancing because it was the reminder that even though I could never undo any decisions made in the past, God could help me through any of the consequences (of those decisions) I would have to endure in the present and future.

It felt good to be reminded that I would never be alone even amidst “the mess” that I created by my former decisions. And the bonus – I am different, better now because of all the lessons learned through my experiences.

So now I fix my gaze to the present and future, acknowledging that I am shaped by my past BUT I am NOT my past. As Olympian Jacki Joyner-Kersee is quoted as saying: “It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

What’s going to happen? Believe…

I sat here listening to the contemporary song by Jekalyn Carr, and what caught my attention was the chorus where she repetitively sings: It’s Going to Happen.

I turned that same phrase over and over in my mind… It’s going to happen… It’s going to happen… It’s going to happen.

Some may say that it’s easy for the talented songstress to have such optimism because of her youth. And others may wonder incredulously, how could she sing that a statement with such certainty?

But I challenge you to pause for a moment and consider, how successful, how productive, and how fulfilled you would be if you wholeheartedly believed your dreams, your desires, and your purpose was a certainty!

Just imagine, with me, a life where you were lucky enough to do what feels good to your heart, and right with your soul… Now let’s go one step further…

What if I told you: That life is attainable. That life is possible. And you don’t need luck to have it!

All you have to do – right where you are, in whatever current situation you are, start to speak what positive blessings you want to come into your life. But you can’t just voice these desires as a passing thought. You have to believe it! When you believe in it, it shall come to pass…

Remember it’s going to happen – but will you have the courage and audacity to believe it?

The choice is yours…

What is the ‘it’ that you’re waiting on? Visualize it, as if it were already a reality! And then take baby steps towards manifesting that vision.

Here are three quotes to encourage you on the path of choosing to believe that your IT, is going to happen!

  • “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
  • “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it” – J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
  • “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Start to believe in the impossible, that which does not yet exist – for that vision is merely the beginning of wonderful adventures that await YOU!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Healed Hearts in 2015

It was an interesting day. I had three different people thank me for my blog posts. While I was humbled and appreciative of their feedback, it was the phrase “thank you for allowing God to use you” that caught my attention. Those who know me know I don’t believe in random coincidences, and the repetitiveness of the message struck me, as this is more than just a fluke of nature. So I decided to think a bit more about their choice of words…

Thank you for allowing God to use you…

It seemed that they viewed me as a messenger conveying something from God through my blog. That’s a pretty awesome confirmation, as the focus of my message is always to share something that will inspire, uplift, and spread some love. However, as a writer you’re not always sure if you hit the mark, until you hear the reactions from the receiver of your words. It felt nice to be acknowledged – I was doing something positive and worthwhile. But even larger than that, I was doing something that people could see God from within me. Now that, for me, was mind blowing!

It blew my mind because my spiritual walk has not been a straight and narrow path. There have been many twists and turns, even some days where I wondered if God had forgotten me. But then the tide began to change, and with one touch I could feel God turning my life around. The shift was so GREAT that it prompted me to start penning my memoir; a memoir that I am still in the process of writing.

At times I wondered why did God seem to overlook me in one season, but then in the next I can so clearly feel God’s presence all around me and within me? And then, I came across a chapter in the Stormie Omartian book that talked about hardened hearts. She explained that God needs our hearts to be softened.

Wow… I wondered to myself “could it be that my heart had been hardened before?” Then I reflected on all of the hurts, disappointments, broken promises, lies, and all the other negative encounters I’ve endured. Yes, it would seem that I had sealed off my heart to protect myself from further injury. However, once I started to open myself back up – to seek God and to love God, it made it a lot easier to heal from everything I had endured. And I guess that why God can now use me.

My hope, for you, is that whatever blockages, whatever has happened to you that keeps you closed off and protecting yourself from hurt – I pray that 2015 is the year that you are healed from it. For in your healing, you will then allow God to make you a vessel of his message, so that you might then go out and bring hope, light, and inspiration to someone else.

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂

Be gone negativity… Hello abundant life.

In this season of my life I have found myself surrounded by prayer.

I have continued the ongoing Morning Prayer circle with two girlfriends and I decided to join in on the 30-day Evening Prayer led by an aunt. Who would have thought that I would be spending so much time engaged in corporate prayer?

I grew up in the church and always believed in God, but never thought of myself as “one of those Christians”. I initiated neither opportunity. All I did was be responsive when it was laid on my doorstep. So, this is where I find myself, prayer all around me.

And guess what… it has been an eye opening experience, thus far. It appears as if God is preparing me for a new assignment. Therefore, the prayer coming from all sides seems to be God’s way of getting me ready for all that is coming. In the King James Version of the Bible there is a verse that states: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). This verse talks about the need to remain alert, be ready for action, demonstrate self-control, and think clearly. Basically you need to be “on point”. My increased time in prayer is doing just that. It is helping me to refocus, recharge, and remain steadfast in my pursuit of ALL that God has promised to me.

Within my prayer group discussions I have learned and shared a great deal thus far, but one particular prayer topic stands out in my mind. It was during the previous week, while reading for the evening prayer group, I came across a chapter entitled “Pray as Though Your Life Depends On It”… This chapter from Stormie Omartian’s book was a great reminder that prayer is indeed a lifeline connection, to God – the giver of earthly and eternal life.

Often we all think about God when life is called into question – so when we are near death. However, if we thought about God during our earthly comings and goings, we’d live a more fruitful, prosperous, and loving existence. And that is where I am focused in 2015. The question I will ask myself all year is – how can I live a life that is more abundantly rich, full, and gratifying?

I expect that I shall continue to grow and be stretched, as I strive for a life that is plentiful. But there are two immediate things that I know, right now, will support an abundant life:

  • I refuse to engage in negative interactions. Any and all things that attempt to bring negativity my way, I immediately know that is NOT of God, so why engage – I just say NO to the haters, naysayers, and detractors…
  • I know who I am… so while earthly validation makes my ego feel good, it is the spiritual validation that provides me a sense of rest, peace, and fulfillment

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂

New Beginnings

Have you ever sat on the fringes of a breakthrough? In nervous anticipation of the next step that was on the horizon… Well that is where I am… right now, in this very moment. Looking ahead at a transformation that is sure to come… There is so much in the works, that I’m not even sure where to begin.

1) my memoir that is in progress

2) a budding new relationship

3) a newly born private practice

4) my improved physical health and physique

5) my head full of hair (this was not always the case!)

6) several new part-time contracting opportunities

No matter which aspect of my life that I focus on right now – I see new growth EVERYWHERE! It’s amazing, because I once obsessed over the fact that I desired to be a biological mother, by now… However, though I have not yet had a child, new life is cropping up all around me and that feels wonderful. New life in my career, New life in my relationships, and even New life on my head!

“So I decided to take a moment to appreciate the new life that is taking place all around me. To acknowledge the newness that stands before me. And to be thankful for new beginnings” Dr. Donna

 Although newness is refreshing and desired, it can also be scary because there is so much uncertainty. I believe the fear of the unknown is what keeps so many of us stuck. We are afraid to do a new thing. So we allow the familiar to bring us comfort, even when that familiarity means living a life that is lacking, wanting, and limited.

I finally arrived to a place in my life, where I decided to no longer allow fear to be the determining factor. I have made peace with the unfamiliar, trusting that with it comes the beauty of chance, potential, and newfound possibilities.

So you may wonder what has helped me to gain the courage to step out – to open myself up to new things… There have been many steps I’ve taken over the last few years to arrive at this place. However, the 3 most important things that I did, I will describe using the acronym NEW:

N Never give up – never quit. Being persistent and steadfast was indeed a very crucial part of helping me to shed all of the old dead weight so that I could move into this new phase of life. Never accept never… In other words, even when you hear a no – keep going until you get a yes!

E Energize – finding things to renew my energy and my strength was a pivotal piece. My hobbies, my talents, and my faith in God each have helped to restore me when my energy was depleted.

W Wish and Wait without Worry – This last one was the hardest of them all for me… Getting to a place where I continued to wish (have hope) and wait (have patience) for the things I desired without feeling angst and worry that things had not happened yet, was indeed Tough! However, I have learned that finding that place of peace within is an important step in getting one’s heart’s desires.

So I sit here typing my first blog post and reflecting at all of the other new beginnings in my life. It feels great to be at the starting point of this new phase in my life journey.